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ScienceDaily (May 6, 2008) — Fungi may have an important role to play in the fate of potentially dangerous depleted uranium left in the environment after recent war campaigns, according to a new report in the May 6th issue of Current Biology, a publication of Cell Press.
The researchers found evidence that fungi can "lock" depleted uranium into a mineral form that may be less likely to find its way into plants, animals, or the water supply.
"This work provides yet another example of the incredible properties of microorganisms in effecting transformations of metals and minerals in the natural environment," said Geoffrey Gadd of the University of Dundee in Scotland. "Because fungi are perfectly suited as biogeochemical agents, often dominate the biota in polluted soils, and play a major role in the establishment and survival of plants through their association with roots, fungal-based approaches should not be neglected in remediation attempts for metal-polluted soils."